Pruitt out as head of EPA

Jul 5, 2018
Originally published on July 5, 2018 5:07 pm

Scott Pruitt has resigned as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, President Trump announced Thursday via Twitter.

Pruitt has been dogged by criticism over his use of EPA staffers and funds. But in the Great Lakes region, moves by Trump and Pruitt to roll back environmental regulations also triggered concern.

In making the announcement, Trump showed no sign of slowing those moves. Referring to the new acting administrator, Andy Wheeler, the president tweeted: "I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!"

NPR noted that Pruitt focused on taking the EPA "back to basics," which he described as clean air and clean water policies, and asking state and local governments to take more responsibility for enforcing environmental regulations. He worked with the White House to undercut many of the Obama administration's signature environmental policies. That included reversing a broad rule that designated which bodies of water are subject to federal authority, and moving to repeal the Clean Power Plan regulation of carbon dioxide emissions. During his tenure, many climate change documents and pages were removed from the agency's website.

More recently, Trump said he was overriding an Obama executive order meant to protect the oceans and Great Lakes. It was written in response to the 2010 BP oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico.

Not only is there no mention of the spill in the new policy, but it references the importance of oil drilling as well as commercial fishing, shipping, and other industries.

And for the past two years, the administration's budget proposal severely cut funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The money was restored by Congress for the current fiscal year, and lawmakers are working to do that again next year.

The president said Wheeler. a former coal lobbyist who has been the EPA Deputy Administrator, will become the acting head of the agency on Monday.

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